My Twin Peaks Season 3 predictions

So I’m not one for publishing my theories, but it’s so extraordinary that new Twin Peaks will air tonight I thought I’d share some of my thoughts for posterity. I haven’t read or listened to any theory or predictions. They are a little ridiculous are are informed just by my imagination, but hey, anything could happen in a Lynch program.

Here we go:

  • The first we see of Cooper, errrr Cooper’s doppelgänger, will be when he is released from prison for killing Annie.
  • Good Cooper is in the Red room for the past 25 years and escapes.
  • Or, some major battle will have happened in the past 25 years that we only hear about.
  • If Annie is alive, Laura Dern could be playing her.
  • Michael Cera is the son of Andy and Lucy.
  • Andy is the new Sheriff in town.
  • Donna died of natural causes or a tragedy like a car crash.
  • Ed and Norma are not back together.
  • Jim Belushi plays a cop.
  • Bobby is doing something good for society and is married to Shelly
  • Something happened to Harry S. Truman, like Donna, natural causes or a common tragedy.
  • Ben Horne ran unsuccessfully for Senate and is still on his quest for good in the world.
  • James has a million of stories to tell us.

We’ll see in seven hours! Can’t wait!

The Mystery of iCloud Photo Library storage

This is a curious case of photography, small iPads and the mysterious puzzle of Apple’s optimized storage.
The other month, I found an amazing deal on an iPad Mini 2 — $125 for a 32gb model — more than 60 percent off the retail price. I’ve been wanting a new iPad for a while — my iPad 3 is long past its retirement date. But I’ve been waiting for one of the new iPad Pros to be released later this year so I waited. But this deal was too good to pass up.

If I was buying the Pro, I would max out the storage. But this was a short-term solution I couldn’t pass up.

As a photographer, I have a lot of pictures on my iCloud Photo Library — about 695gb. Setting up my iPad, I was excited to have all my photos available, even in the cloud. I turned it on and waited for the photos to appear.

The problem

A couple days later, I received a notification that my iPad was almost out of storage. Strange. I Iooked at the settings and saw that the library was taking up 25gb. I checked to make sure the optimize storage setting was on. It was.

Maybe it needs some more space to finish syncing, I thought, and deleted some of the larger apps.

Next day, the iCloud library took up 28gb, leaving the iPad with just 400mb of free storage.

Shouldn’t the optimized storage deal with this? I wondered. Have some images cached, but not take up more than a third or even half of my storage. This was true with my 128gb iPhone 6.

Looking at Apple forums didn’t provide any clarity. The best I could surmise is that some photos and thumbnails of the others were downloaded. But what made up that 28gb was unknown. This wouldn’t work.

The solution

Running on low storage is never fun. What I’ve ended doing is setting up my iPad again, fresh.

I will have access to my phone 99.99 percent of the time I’m using my iPad. If I need access to a certain photo, I’ll look it up and AirDrop it to myself or share it to a private shared photo album. I’ve also turned on, for the first time since the Photos update, Photostream.

It’s not the ideal solution, but it gives me an iPad I can work with. I’d rather do this little workaround then having to deal with the annoyances of trying to free up space, which seems to be a losing battle.

I’m still left wondering: What’s in those gigabites stored on my iPad? Could thumbnails and metadata take up that much space? Hopefully, when I get an iPad Pro with maxed out storage, I won’t have to worry about it.

If it does, I don’t know what I’m going to do, delete photos? Yeah right.

That time PJ Fleck blocked me on Twitter

With news that Western Michigan University Head Football Coach PJ Fleck is leaving the Broncos for a bigger school that will not be named, I was reminded of this odd story of when he blocked me on Twitter. I have a lot of respect for Fleck. This story is too good to not share.



It was February, 2015 and Western Michigan’s men’s basketball team had just won the MAC championship, meaning they secured a spot in the NCAA March Madness tournament. I was scrolling through my Twitter feed, excitedly favoriting and retweeting posts, when I saw one from PJ Fleck.

Huh I thought I haven’t seen a tweet from PJ in a long time.

I clicked on the profile and this popped up:

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I was shocked.

Blocked by Coach Fleck? What did I do?

I had no idea. I was critical of Fleck during his first season at WMU. He came in and changed our traditions: cut down on the marching band and replaced their songs with a DJ, played the Chicago Blackhawks song whenever they scored a touchdown (we’re Red Wings country here) and more. Oh yeah, they also had a 1-11 season.

Uh oh, what did I tweet?

So I searched through the archives and all I could find was this:

He blocked me over something so small as saying I was having a hard time rowing the boat? They were 1-11…

Fast forward to the December. An article from Sports Illustrated on Fleck detailed a day-in-his-life and the drink he ordered every morning, called “the coach.”

sugar-free Red Bull with ice, five strawberries, a banana and whipped cream — double-blended.

My friend Kyle and I joked about getting one for months. Since it was around the holidays, and I had a bunch of gift cards and there wasn’t a lot of work to do, we were going to order some. Since we worked downtown Lansing, the state capitol and home of the coffee chain, we had multiple choices. We first went to the “Senate Biggby,” explained the order to much confusion. But it didn’t matter: they were out of bananas. We went a couple blocks away to the “House Biggby” explained the order again. They had bananas but no clue about the drink, which was a little surprising since they have so many odd drinks that don’t really look much like coffee at all.

We got the drink, it was something like $12 or $14 for both of them. As we were leaving, we took selfies and tweeted them. The drink wasn’t that bad.

It was then retweeted by a friend who works at Biggby, and then retweeted by Fleck himself. He probably didn’t see my original tweet because he blocked me. I was upset.

He can’t be retweeting my content to boost his brand if he blocked me!

My friends came to the rescue and started an #unblockfritzklug campaign (did I mention it was a slow time around the holidays?)

Within minutes I got a follow notification from Fleck. I was unblocked.

I’ve come to like Fleck a lot and will miss him. Like any fan, I am a little hurt but I think it’s best for his career. This reminded me of this bizarre moment in the beginning of a young coach’s carrer.

But now I really wonder… What I said was something a preschooler would say, how many other people did he block?

Tuebor: Defending our Michigan Flag

The Michigan flag has flown over our Capitol and across our two peninsulas for more than 100 years: through two world wars, the growth of the automobile industry and several economic depressions.

It’s represented Michigan longer than any of us have been alive.

So there should be no surprise that several people, myself included, were offended when Rick DeVos suggested that we change the flag because it is “ugly” and “non useful.”

DeVos wrote:

I’ve complained several times about how ugly and non-useful the current Michigan state flag is. It’s a big missed opportunity. Michigan has amazing design talent, and a state flag is (or at least can be) a powerful community design asset. Think of it as a public park. Unfortunately our current flag doesn’t function as such. For a positive example look at what CA, CO & others are able to do w/ their flags.

He suggests we should design a new flag and offered $500 each for three of the best designs.

Thinking we can just redesign the flag is shortsighted and misses the importance of why we have such symbols.

Our flag is part of the culture and heritage we’ve inherited. It’s more than a “community design asset” — the flag links us with Michiganders before us and will do the same for generations to come.

Yes, the flag has Latin phrases. In the world of studying flags — vexillology — Michigan’s doesn’t rank high. But who cares? Just because it’s not modern enough or artsy enough doesn’t mean it should be changed. What happens in 50 years when new design trends are popular? Should we change it again make a new flag again?

What about the American flag? Designed with red, white and blue and borrowing the Union Jack’s Stars and Stripes, should it be updated to be an American “community park?” I don’t think so. It’s already a mighty natural forest, here when we arrive and waiting for us to fly with pride.

We’ve changed the flag before in Michigan. Our current flag is the third iteration, adopted in 1911. The first had a portrait of our first governor and the second the had the state and country’s cost of arms.

But our current flag speaks so well of our state. The royal blue background represents our Great Lakes. The elk and moose acknowledge the mighty wildlife that roam the land. The shield shows a frontiersman welcoming the rising sun on a peninsula.

And the three Latin phrases:

  • e pluribus unum “from many, one” the U.S. motto, connecting us to our country.
  • tuebor “I shall defend.” The Latin really gives a sense of “I shall defend today and always defend in the future.”
  • quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice: “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look around you.” A beautiful piece of poetry unmatched by any other state.

The flag nods to our land, our heritage and, I’d say, inspires us to look to the future. It may even force us to learn a little Latin.

Maybe the flag isn’t everywhere like other states. But we’re not lacking when it comes to defining ourselves through art, music and even advertising — how much more “Michigan” can you get than Pure Michigan or a simple outline of our peninsulas and Great Lakes.

The flag is not supposed to only reflect who we are today; it’s a symbol of both our past and our future.  While redesigning the flag may be a fun graphic design exercise to garner temporary excitement, the notion that we need a new flag is flawed. It’s not a “big missed opportunity,” as DeVos says, it’s part of who we are as Michiganders.

Schedule Instagram posts with Workflow, Due and Dropbox

Instagram is probably my favorite social network, for both personal and work.

I’ve tried a few services that help with scheduling posts. Given Instagram’s API, you cannot schedule posts directly to the app, like with Buffer or Sprout Social. These other services are workarounds: you upload a photo, write a caption and set a time you’d like to publish it. The app gives you a reminder, loads the photo, copies the caption and opens Instagram.

The downside? They can cost hundreds of dollars a year, have limits on the number of photos you can upload and file sizes for photos and videos.

Using them and seeing what they did, I knew there was a way to automate this myself.

So after playing around for about 6 hours and trying several different methods 1)including using Google calendars and searching for file names in Photos app, I came up with a pretty simple way to send similar reminders to myself for social media, using the mighty Workflow (link), the every pesky Due (link) and a free Dropbox account.

The workflow

Part 1: InstaSchedule 2

Get the Workflow here

There are two separate Workflow actions, one for saving the share and one for retrieving it.

The first is InstaSchedule 2. When its run, the workflow asks you to name the social post — this will be the unique identifier used to save and retrieve the photos and videos later. It will now be known as the “project.” 2)I added in a rule to search and replace any spaces, in case you include them which will break Due

After this, you are asked to choose a photo through the iOS photo picker. Workflow then converts it to a JPEG (for consistency) and renames it to the project name. It then saves it in a new folder (also named the project) in Dropbox — this may take up to a minute. I save them all into a folder called “Instagram Share” on Dropbox. You can save it anywhere you want, but this is the default in the workflow.

Now comes the caption: You’ll be prompted to type in the caption what you want — you can always change this in the future. You’ll see the project name at the top of the text field — this will allow Workflow to use it as the file name. The caption is then saved in a text document to the Dropbox folder to be retrieved later.

Now it’s time to set the time. Workflow prompts you for a date and time you’d like to be reminded to share the post. Once you do that, it will takes you to Due to confirm the reminder. Workflow has created a special a x-callback-URL with the Project name to open in Workflow later.

The URL looks like this:

Post VideocastWorkflow to Instagram  workflow://run-workflow?name=InstaShare&input=text&text=VideocastWorkflow

Part 2: Reminder

When it’s time to post (in a day, a week or a year), Due will send you a notification.3)You can also run this whenever you want, if the schedule changes When you open it, it will ask if you want to run the attached URL. You do. The Instashare workflow opens in Workflow.

Part 3: InstaShare

Get the Workflow here

This Workflow loads those files from Dropbox (using the project name). The caption is copied to your clipboard (replacing the project name in the first line with a blank space) and the image is grabbed from Instagram and loaded into Instagram. I added in a prompt asking you if the account is correct, for those who manage multiple accounts.

Boom. Time to tweak the caption, add tags and share!

Next steps:

There’s still a lot I want to do to make this work better, including:

  • Make a Workflow that can be launched from the share sheet for images within iOS apps.
  • Make something similar for the Mac in Keyboard Maestro that will take an image, save the files to Dropbox, and create the Due reminder with call back URL to use on iPhone at a later date.
  • Copy and tweak the Workflow to schedule videos.

Problems:

  • It can take a while to save to Dropbox. Don’t know how to get around that.
  • URL schemes in Due. It doesn’t handle chained URLs well (which was my first attempt) and for the project name, it doesn’t support spaces. Originally, the identifier was the image name (eg IMG2345) but that failed when I would add a photo from computer with a file name like “really cute dog photo.jpg.” And at the very beginning, I wanted everything in the URL. Good thing that failed, this is MUCH simpler.

Pros and Cons:

  • Pros: limitless uploads and low cost.
  • Cons: no auto fill for hashtags or usernames, no calendar view and no analytical features you get with the other apps

Conclusion

I’ve been using this for a couple of weeks and it’s been working great being reminded on the go to post to Instagram.

Ideas to improve? Criticisms? I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below or hit me up on Twitter or Instagram. I’m @fritzklug

References   [ + ]

1. including using Google calendars and searching for file names in Photos app
2. I added in a rule to search and replace any spaces, in case you include them which will break Due
3. You can also run this whenever you want, if the schedule changes

Picturelife, trust and having data out of your control

UPDATE: Just after publishing, checked my bank account and saw that I’ve been charged the monthly fee. For a website that’s down. And may not be coming back…

UPDATE 2, May 12: The site is back up, no idea of photos can be downloaded. I’ve started a Facebook group for users to talk about what’s going on.

Picturelife seems to have disappeared, and with it, a good chunk of the pictures I’ve taken.

I joined the service in 2013 at a time when photo storage in the cloud was scarce. iCloud photos hadn’t been released. Other services had shutdown.

Once iCloud photos became my main place, I kept PictureLife, mostly because I had over 1TB of photos there. There were features on Picturelife, including the memories and date scrolling, that aren’t in Apple’s product. Also, the unlimited storage was very nice.

It was always a little bit slow and buggy, but what it offered was unparalleled. Especially where I had a 16gb iPhone, it was a savior.

I knew there was a risk, (heck, I read and listen to Gabe Weatherhead) but for some reason it felt like I trusted these guys.

But now it seems to have disappeared.

I’ve known for a months that I needed to get my photos out of Picturelife and have everything on Apple Photos. I remember they had sold, but wasn’t too worried (again, dumb on me).

About a month ago I received an e-mail that my account was going to be shut down because of a credit card problem. I knew I wanted my photos so I re-entered my card. I was charged $70 in back fees. While I didn’t use the service during that time, I felt OK because I was going to export my photos.

But I was wrong: Exporting didn’t work. Downloads didn’t work. Searching on social media, it appears that Picturelife went MIA. No support requests responded to. I tweeted them on got this response:

And then this:

And now the website it down. I’m glad I have many of my photos stored elsewhere (at least I think) but many others do not.

I hope they are finding an export solution, but it’s gone from a poor functioning website to one that is offline totally.

The really sad thing is, while I may have lost these photos, I feel today less likely to trust anything that’s even a little bit important to a startup.

I hope that there will be an export option available, at least. I’ve spent around $350 on the service over the past few years (and even got my mom using it). I’ve trusted Picturelife this long, let’s hope they deliver for the last time…